Kyrie Irving Banned From Team Practice And Play | The Vaccine Faceoff Just Got Real

. (Photo: @netszn/Instagram)

Kyrie Irving’s anti-vax stance just got real.

The Brooklyn Nets have decided not to let the guard play or practice with the Brooklyn Nets until he is eligible to become a full participant under local COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks released a statement on Tuesday.

New Rules

“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability. It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice,” said Marks.

“Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud.”

When the general manager of New York’s new resident super team says he is making his decisions for the sake of Kings County, you know it’s real.

The Principle

While addressing the media on Tuesday, Marks explained that the decision came down to himself and Nets owner Joe Tsai, while “everyone” was consulted.

In addition, Marks revealed that Irving would only forfeit his salary for home games based on New York City’s vaccine mandate.

Irving has been steadfast in not disclosing his vaccination status, but he is widely understood to be against the vaccine. The Nets cannot reveal whether Irving has received vaccination by law. However, the team’s statement is a clear indication he has not met New York’s vaccination requirement.

Irving is too valuable to the dynamic of Kevin Durant and James Harden.

Challenges Abound

However, New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate has presented the biggest challenge to Irving’s Nets career. NYC and San Francisco require a person to have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to enter indoor gyms.

This includes the arena on Brooklyn’s famed Atlantic Avenue, Barclays Center. Contrastingly, the New York Knicks aren’t having this issue with their players at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.

However, when it comes to productivity for the upcoming season, Irving is not meeting the grade. He wasn’t eligible to practice with the Nets in New York until Friday until the team found a loophole. The city told the team that its training facility was considered a private venue.

Additionally, Irving joined the team at an outdoor practice Saturday and worked out with the team on Sunday. However, Irving didn’t play in the preseason game against Philadelphia on Monday.

The game was at the Wells Fargo Center in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Player’s Silence Has Spoken

The NBA has not made it mandatory for players to take the vaccine. The National Basketball Players Association has not agreed to mandatory vaccinations, therefore, players are not required to be vaccinated by the NBA.

However, such players will face more testing and restrictions around their vaccinated teammates. In addition, according to the league, players won’t be paid for games they miss because of ineligibility.

Nets teammates have been supportive of Irving’s vaccine stance. However, their chances of being the front-runners for a championship will be severely hindered without Kyrie Irving.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.